Effect Of Mother Tongue On English Language In Some Selected Secondary Schools

Project and Seminar Material for English Language

Effect Of Mother Tongue On English Language In Some Selected Secondary Schools In Ovia North East Local Government


Abstract


This study investigates the effect of mother tongue on English language in some selected secondary schools in Ovia North East Local Government. The effect of mother tongue of the study includes students in some secondary schools in Ovia North East. However a total of four secondary schools were selected, the students were drawn from each of the classes making a total of 100 students which constitute my sample size. The research instrument used includes questionnaire, interview and participant observation. The data collected was analyzed using the sample percentages calculation; however all of them were finding.


Chapter One


Introduction

1.1 Background of the Study

English language is not an indigenous language to Nigeria, due to the fact, that Nigerians already have their own spoken language (mother tongue). Every Nigeria learning English language is usually faced with a complex language situation in his process language development. Besides having to master his own language and other indigenous language, he needs to have a good command of English as indispensable tool in his daily life in a changing world. Language is our greatest invention, without it, trade, government, family life. Regions and the art would be either impossible or very different. The human being is characterized by the ability to communicate with his fellow human being, this chief characteristics is what distinguished the human from animals. The process of learning indigenous language begin very early in life, right from time early, an adult attempt to communicate with a child by using all kinds of sound to him and the child in turn begin to respond to the communication through imitation. The child proficiency in use of his mother tongue is accelerated by his constant exposure to language. This communication is made possible in human being by the use of two types of sensory stimulation, such as auditory and visual. Any normal human being with the normal human facilities possesses this type of sensory stimulation is being used. The importance of English language acquisition as a stepping-stone for proficiency in other school subjects cannot be over emphasized. The knowledge is important both for educational, economical and national development of a country. The importance of English language as a school subject derives mainly from its utilitarian value to the larger Nigerian society. English is the official language of administration and commerce. It is major language of science. Above all, Salami (2002) had emphasized the importance of the use of English language in improving communication among the various ethnic groups in Nigeria. He further highlighted the need for improving the quality of spoken and written English language among school children. However, one of the current educational problems of public interest is that of poor level of achievement especially in public examinations (Kolawole 1998, Kolawole and Dele 2002). This problem of underachievement among school children has persisted in many subject areas such as Mathematics, English and Science (Ivowi, Okebukola, and Oladotun, 1992; Falayajo, 1997). This poor level of achievement in many subject areas may be due to poor foundation in English language at the primary school level. There are also several research reports, which support the view that language inefficiency invariably leads to poor academic performance (Ayodele, 1988; Falayajo, 1997). No wonder why today, according to Iroegbu (2006) much emphasis is placed on the passing of English language at credit or distinction level in addition to other subjects to enable any candidate gain admission into any Nigerian Higher Institution of learning or be placed well in a good white collar job. In recognition of the importance of English language for enhancing educational attainment as well as for improving communication ability of citizens, the government had made the subject a core subject (FGN, 2004). It is also compulsory for students to have credit in English language before entering the university. This also explains why many parents go off their way to see that their children pass at credit level or above in English language. The importance of English language as a school subject derives mainly from its utilitarian value to the larger Nigerian society. English is the official language of administration and commerce. It is major language of science. Above all, Salami (2002) had emphasized the importance of the use of English language in improving communication among the various ethnic groups in Nigeria. He further highlighted the need for improving the quality of spoken and written English language among school children. However, one of the current educational problems of public interest is that of poor level of achievement especially in public examinations (Kolawole 1998, Kolawole and Dele 2002). This problem of underachievement among school children has persisted in many subject areas such as Mathematics, English and Science (Akpan, Ivowi, Okebukola, and Oladotun, 1992; Falayajo, 1997). This poor level of achievement in many subject areas may be due to poor foundation in English language at the primary school level. There are also several research reports, which support the view that language inefficiency invariably leads to poor academic performance (Oluikpe, 1979; Ayodele, 1988; Falayajo, 1997; Onukaogu and Arua, 1997; Onukaogu, 2002). Okoro (2000) has stated that the problem of poor level of achievement of primary school children was a serious one in Nigeria and this was in spite of the fact that Nigeria had set up goals for increasing minimum level of learning by 1995. The author had observed that ample evidences of poor performance were still observed as the pupils move up the system. Attempt was therefore made to find out the extent to which Okoro’s (2000) observation applies to primary school English Language beyond the year 2000. Perhaps the way English language is taught in schools and colleges may be blamed for some of the observed lapses in English language achievement and skills of learners. Ubahakwe (1991), Ohia (1997) and Duff (1997) had criticized the traditional teaching strategy for use in English language classrooms. Kolawole (1991, 1998) had blamed the use of traditional teaching strategy for lack of good grasp of basic skills in writing. Williams (1990) had described this teaching strategy as a hit and miss affair. Oglan (1997) had criticized the domineering nature of traditional teaching strategy which renders learners passive in class. He therefore recommended an activity classroom where learners especially at the primary school level, can make learning a fun. Such learning activities may include learning with objects, things, photographs, films etc


1.2 Statement of the Problem

Interference is the influence of one language, dialect or other linguistic features upon another’s phonology, grammar and vocabulary. In the course of using English as a second language, there is inter-lingual interference. That is, the influence of one language upon another’s phonology, grammar and vocabulary. The language which a group of people considered to be inhabitants of an area acquire in their early years and which normally becomes their natural instrument of thought and communication may interfere with the second language, and these interferences may manifest itself in any aspect of the language such as phonology, morphology, syntax and semantics. When an Igbo man for instance says; “I hear a smell” to mean “I perceive an odour” or when the Hausa man says “I am coming here yesterday” to mean “I came here yesterday; or also when the Ikwerre man says “did you hear me” to mean “did you understand me?”; they transliterate the syntax of their respective mother tongue into English Language.


1.3 Purpose of the Study

Our main concern here is to show how English Language is affected either positively or negatively by the learner mother tongue. Secondly to acquire sufficient diversified register of English vocabulary in various field of human endeavour which will enhance the overall quality of communicative competence of the learning second language. Thirdly to see of the conditions which language acquisition can take place. Finally to bring the conditions of language learning closer to the condition of language acquisition and to male language learning a far rewarding experience than is commonly the case.


1.4 Significance of the Study

The importance of the mother tongue in the education of a child cannot be overemphasized. Psychologically; the proper development of the child is closely boring with the continued use of the language he has spoken from birth, the language of his parents, brothers and sisters, friends and people he is use to. It is the language in which he has acquired in his first experience in life, dreams and think, and in his feeling and emotions.It is a paramount fact that a child education should begin with his mother tongue since it is the language of his culture, of all the elements that characterize a linguistic group and distinguishes them from other group’s whether in art, music, dance, attitude and beliefs, customs, festivals, behavior etc. This does not create a barrier between him and his less educated parents but, what is worse; it may cause him to despise the language of his people in favor of a foreign one.It is not agreed on, however that the factors are essentially the same.


1.5 Scope of the Study

The research on this work has a limited scope it will be to some villages in Ovia South West Local Government Area. It is solely based on the influence of mother tongue on the learning of English as a foreign language and its impact on the rural people, possible


1.6 Research Questions

The research questions would focus on the following;

  1. Does the environment of the child affect the performance of pupils in English language?
  2. Does the economic status of the parents of the child affect the performance of pupils in English language?
  3. Does mother tongue affect the performance of a child in English language?
  4. Is there any relationship between the occupation of parents and the performance of their children in English language?
  5. Does the health of the child affect the performance of pupils in English language?

1.7 Definition of Terms

Mother Tongue:

Native, language, the first which is normally acquired by human being in early childhood through interaction with other member of his own native speakers. This can also be called primary language, its one’s first language of interaction.

Second Language:

Foreign language, any language other than the native language or mother tongue. A second language usually learnt and not acquired through interaction with other.

Interference:

The errors native made by carrying over the speech habit of the native language or dialect into a second language or dialect. The interference can be noticed in features of pronunciation, grammar and vocabulary when a person is learning to master the pattern of second language.

Transfer:

The process or result of carrying over speech habit from one language to another e.g. language teaching, the patterns of the mother tongue or when translating lexical items may be borrowed from the native language. Negative features that are not available in the mother tongue are to features that are present in the second language. This means that there are some distinctive features inherent in the mother tongues that are transferred to the second language.

Positive Common Features:

Are those features that are present both in first language and the second language.


1.8 Organization of the Study

This research work is organized in five chapters, for easy understanding, as follows

  • Chapter one is concern with the introduction, which consist of the (overview, of the study), statement of problem, objectives of the study, research question, significance or the study, research methodology, definition of terms and historical background of the study.
  • Chapter two highlight the theoretical framework on which the study its based, thus the review of related literature.
  • Chapter three deals on the research design and methodology adopted in the study.
  • Chapter four concentrate on the data collection and analysis and presentation of finding.
  • Chapter five gives summary, conclusion and also recommendations made of the study.

Chapter Five


Summary, Conclusion and Recommendation

5.1 Introduction

It is important to ascertain that the objective of this study was to evaluate the influence of mother tongue on teaching of English language.

In the preceding chapter, the relevant data collected for this study were presented, critically analyzed and appropriate interpretation given. In this chapter, certain recommendations made which in the opinion of the researcher will be of benefits in addressing the challenges of the influence of mother tongue in teaching and learning of English Language.


5.2 Summary

The influence of the mother-tongue on the learning and proficiency of English language was the research problem that prompted this research work. The problem was formulated in chapter one as follows: What impact does the mother-tongue have on the learning and proficiency of English language. Throughout the investigation the guiding factor was this problem. Thus by means of a detailed literature review and an empirical investigation other studies related to this were reviewed. The data collection, analysis and interpretation supported the evidence that the research problem has been solved. That is to state that the mother-tongue actually influences the learning and proficiency of English language. This is seen in the cases of phonological interference discussed above, but the syntax of language to an extent does not interfere with the learning of the English language, rather the inconsistencies in the rules of the second language contributed to hindrances in the effective learning of the language.


5.3 Conclusion

The findings reveal that mother tongue influences the students’ poor performance in English language in secondary School and that there are other factors contributing to students’ poor performance in English language. These other factors are poor method of teaching, lack of textbooks, language background and lack of professional growth and development of teachers. On the whole, the performance of students in English language is poor and if the discovered factors are not tackled on time, it will cause a drastic decline in standard of education.


5.4 Recommendations

These recommendations are made in order to solve some of the problems militating against students’ competence in English language in Junior School certificate Examination. Having discovered that the use of mother tongue in school contributes or influence students performance in English, English language should be used as a medium of communication within and outside the classroom. Both teachers and students should endeavour to improve their proficiency level of the language. Teachers need to do more than teaching theories in class. Proper method of teaching and appropriate instructional materials should be adopted to compliment teacher’s knowledge. This goes a long way in influencing teaching and learning process in English language. Material (s) selected should be commensurable with grade or maturity level of students. Good reading habit and library study should also be developed in the students. Students should be encouraged to approach reading with alertness and critical mind. They should be made to develop taste for books which are significant in the achievement of good result in English language in Junior School Certificate Examination Schools should organize debate and essay competitions among students within and outside their schools. Students should also be given the opportunity to explain points and express views in class discussion and any error made should be corrected by the teacher without any intimidation as these will enhance a proper evaluation of learners’ performance or progress in English language.


Effect Of Mother Tongue On English Language In Some Selected Secondary Schools


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